By on April 12, 2012

General Motors has often been the focus of criticism at Generation Why – despite what some of the B&B suggest, it’s merely a function of the fact that they put themselves out there the most when it comes to publicizing their youth marketing efforts. But it’s time to reward their efforts with some free, unsolicited advice from a know-it-all keyboard jockey.

The above car isn’t anything Chevy is going to put into production. Instead, it’s a photoshop concocted by my friend Jover according to what I think about be a suitable “halo car” for Generation Why. With Chevrolet’s portfolio full of sensible, fuel-efficient cars like the Spark and Sonic, I figured something a bit flashier and more upscale would be something that young, image-conscious people would actually want to buy, invoking their emotions and desires rather than appealing to largely rational factors like price, fuel efficiency or practicality. If you would be so kind as to indulge me, the output of my thought exercise is below.

The above car would use the Cruze’s Delta architecture. think of this as a re-imagining of the slightly gawky Tru 140S concept, because Chevy got the Code 130R (which would be rear-drive and presumably be based on the Alpha architecture) fairly correct from the start. That means that yes, it’s front wheel drive. Big deal. Most consumers don’t care. If they do, they are going to buy a Camaro or a Scion FR-S.  Front-drive would also allow for better packaging; believe it or not, carting around your friends and throwing “lifestyle accessories” matters more than 50/50 weight distribution.

The base engine would be the 1.4T 4-cylinder engine, with the same 6-speed manual and automatic gearboxes as the Cruze. Hopefully, a power bump could be engineered – acceleration in a Cruze is adequate, but any car with sporting pretensions has to have forward thrust that goes beyond “acceptable”. There could also be an Eco model that employs the active aero shutters and low rolling-resistance tires like the Cruze Eco. Higher trim levels could use the 2.0L LHU turbochagred 4-cylinder from the Buick Regal. With 220 and 270 horsepower trims available, there’s room for a mid-grade and a high-performance version that would echo the Cobalt SS.

Unlike the Cobalt SS, the above concept wouldn’t be a factory tuner special. The whole car is supposed to look upscale and mature, like an Audi A5/S5 for people who don’t make the Audi’s MSRP as their yearly salary. While cars like the Hyundai Veloster and Chevrolet Sonic are literally going after those with youthful sensibilities, this would be a car for young people (or anyone, really) that is looking for something more mature, something that wouldn’t be embarrassing to take clients out to lunch in (or take someone out on a date in). The character lines at the rear may look particularly S5-ish, but they’re actually borrowed from the new Malibu. The goal is to keep Chevrolet design cues while still compelling people to ask “what is that?” if they saw it on the street.

The interior would be the place where a grand bargain would have to be made; to touchscreen, or not to touchscreen? Having not had the chance to use the MyLink touchscreen system in the new Malibu or Spark, I can’t endorse it in good faith. I do know that the conventional buttons-and-knobs layout in the Cruze, Orlando and other vehicles is intuitive and easy to use. That can be standard, along with Bluetooth, a USB port and yes, an auxiliary input jack. Those three, more than any kind of touchscreen, or streaming music app, are the must-have features for a new car today. Base versions could come with cloth seats and monochrome surfaces, but higher grade versions could get leather and the earth-tone leather and dash surfaces seen on the 2013 Malibu and other vehicles.

With a Cruze starting at $16,800 and a Camaro starting at $23,280 (not to mention, the Scion FR-S at $24,930 and the Genesis at $25,125), an appropriate price point for this car becomes tough to nail down. A base version, at $18,995, is still accessible to a fair amount of younger buyers without being too bargain basement. More powerful versions (especially a 270 horsepower version loaded to the gills) could push deeper into Genesis Coupe territory. Even if it didn’t quite have the performance cred, the upscale styling and premium interior would help draw in a buyer more concerned about making the 7:15 movie screening than running a 7:15 on the Nurburgring. That’s not to say that this car has to be a compromised, sloppy-handling poseur-mobile, but think of it as, well, an Audi A5, whereas the Scion FR-S is more focused and driver oriented like a BMW 3-Series. There’s no use in trying to beat Toyota and Subaru at their own game. Instead, this car would focus on a different set of criteria, sacrificing some outright driving engagement for more upscale look and feel. A future vehicle based on the Alpha platform can do that, and be positioned at a higher price point if need be.

The only thing missing is a name.

Thanks to Jover for his Photoshop wizardry

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91 Comments on “Generation Why: Free Product Advice For GM (Or Anyone Else)...”


  • avatar
    Sundowner

    While it’s a nice idea in theory, I’m not sure it’ll fly. A chevy version of the A5 would be a sweet car, but at the end of the day, probably a non-starter. I blame the fact that there is almost zero apprehension among younger buyers with picking a used car instead of a new car. In places like Williamsburg, it’s almost mandatory since it lets the driver walk that so-fine line between the poor guy in the econobox and the ‘sellout’ in the new luxury car. The finely aged german styling goes so nicely with that vintage leather jacket. Besidses, no matter what GM could price that car at (I’m gussing about $26k) it’ll never be cheaper than junion buying out dad’s $40k A5 at the end of the three year lease (at about $22k)

    Don’t get me wrong, I agree with the concept of the car, I think it’s great, but if it worked, Audi would be selling A3′s like hotcakes all day since it’s basically the car you just described within the brand that you noted. Maybe the sedan will do better..

    • 0 avatar

      The A3 has a huge, insurmountable hurdle with the general public: it’s a hatchback.

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        …which is why the 2014 redesign will be a standard notchback four door designed for US audiences. If it comes out looking even 75% like the Geneva concept from last year Audi will have a hit.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        I think the bigger problem the A3 has is that to most, it’s just a tarted up Golf. BMW made the right decision with the 1 serie when they brough it over, to make it 50% about just being the cheapest, smallest BMW on our shores, and 50% about being sexy and fun with its coupe/RWD image.

        To me it looks like the hatch is coming back in to vogue now. For cars that have the option, specifically the new Focus, Impreza, and Mazda3, I tend to notice a whole lot more people hatchback version than not on the road.

      • 0 avatar
        Sundowner

        So is the Mazda 3, so is the Audi A7, so is the Impreza, so is the Ford Focus, so is the Fit, so was the RX-8, so is the corvette, so is the Panamera, so is every_single_car that the Mini brand offers (to date). Shall I go on, or are just going to continue swatting down hatches becuase a select few think that they don’t sell?

        And for what it’s worth, I always felt that hanf of the A3′s problem is that the average American child spends more on a happy meal than Audi of America spent marketing the A3. The other half of the problem is that it really jsut is a tarted up golf.

      • 0 avatar
        Sundowner

        The A3 is a nice car. I own one. and for the record, the sticker on the car was $27k, I paid $24k. Can you option up to $40k? sure. You can option a GTI deep into the $30′s, and I’m sure pleny of fools do that, too. But the A3 is tarted up GTI.

        for what it’s worth, I also owned a Jetta wagon diesel, and the interior was on par or better than the A3. It also cost more than the A3. I guess that would make it a tarted up A3.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @Derek: “The A3 has a huge, insurmountable hurdle with the general public: it’s a hatchback.”

        I think the problem with haches isn’t that they’re hatches, it’s the same “Mature Styling” issue that you keep mentioning.

        For instance, the Prius is a hatch, but it doesn’t make you look like a destitute college student. It might make you look like a bit a geek/greenie. IMHO, one of the reasons that it’s so successful, besides being an efficient technology car, is that it’s a practical little hatchback that you can drive and still be perceived as an adult. The green halo sells the car, but the practicality, reliability, and non-age-biased styling keep them off of the used market.

    • 0 avatar
      Charlie84

      Re: The “tarted-up Golf” comments:

      The TT RS is also a tarted-up Golf and I certainly wouldn’t kick it out of bed.

      I don’t think most current A3 buyers even realize that Audi has any relationship with VW, let alone that their A3 is based on the same platform as a Golf (which is a darn good platform, by the way).

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        TTRS is comparing apples to oranges.

        TTRS is available as a sexy, sporty coupe with a top-down option.

        A3 is the same basic thing as a 5-door GTI with an extended trunk. Or a 5-door jetta GLI if they make it.

        It is a jr. sized family hauler with some sporty pretensions, and is priced too high and sized too low to appeal to any sort of demographic. would you pay close to $40k for one?

      • 0 avatar
        Charlie84

        My point is that your criticism is one of form factor, not of platform. The PQ35 platform is high-quality, well-engineered and versatile enough to become a simple hatchback or a faux-911-fighter.

        A3 buyers have no clue that their Audi is really a Golf underneath and probably wouldn’t care if you told them. It has it’s own sheetmetal, it’s own interior, unique luxury-tech features, and even it’s drivetrain has been revised by Audi. But mostly importantly, it has the Audi rings on the grille and fits the budgets of upwardly-mobile urbanites. Believe me, I know a few –they love their A3s and kind of subtly look down on my MkVI Golf.

        Only car enthusiasts understand that the A3 is a tarted-up Golf. And few, if any, have a problem with that notion because they understand the current Golf to be a generally high-quality car.

  • avatar
    NateR

    I like it.

    If Chevy could do all that starting at $18,995 (and maintain a reasonable TCO), it would more or less permanently remove the Civic coupe from a lot of shopping lists.

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      Targeting Generation Why is so Old School.
      Just because Madison Avenue claimed that our world went topsy-turvy because of the Baby Boomers, doesn’t make it true. Generation marketing was never a silver marketing bullet. Detroit wants to put everyone on an assembly line and feed them their highest profit Model Ts. Detroit has the problem here, not the buyers. They want to stick you into a marketing hole, then feed you bull based on your generation? What a croc.

      Show me where they got it right, and I’ll counter where they got it completely wrong using the same kind of thinking. With every Mustang, there are two Elements.

      The utter adoration of the Boomer generation warped the marketing compass into meetings, focus groups and goals that seem to come more out of a tea leaf reading or taro cards, than real work. The jig is up – the generation marketing idea is freaking lame.

      Make an honest, decent vehicle you would want to drive. No faux anything. Make it nice. Drop the Bow Tie logo. Sorry, but it is about as classy as the K logo at KMart, and worth about the same. But even if you do it correctly, don’t fool yourself that it is selling because it is targeted correctly generationally. Just focus on doing your best sincere work. Go around the marketing people with their marketing babble – go directly to the real marketing people who are the salespeople speaking directly to customers. One good successful salesperson is worth one thousand marketers with their Sharepoint BS.

      Generation Why? Who cares? They don’t. Only the people suckered into thinking that they ought to care about which generation they were born in, are the old people fondly remembering how their butts were kissed for the past fifty years by Madison Avenue and now looking to buy something Japanese to park next to their rusty muscle cars.

      The rest of us buy what we need, what we like and hope we can pay off. We never listen to the generational marketing pitches anyway.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I think it has legs. All folks care about really is image and reliability. That is why the first (second?) Chrysler 300 was so popular. It had the presence of a Bentley with the price of a Camry, and looked like nothing else on the road. If GM can make a car that is styled in a way that appeals to young folks they will have a hit.

    This thing could simply be a Cruze coupe. Make it sleek & faux upscale, people will gravitate to it.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I have a name for you: Jetta.

    Because that’s really what you’re talking about. The Jetta, and especially since the MkIV, has had this niche sewn up.

    Unfortunately, the market you’re serving could also be covered by things named “Aggressive lease rates on a 3-Series/A4″. The problem is going to be the Chevrolet badge on the hood. With a lot of younger buyers, it carries the weight of a brand you buy because you couldn’t swing something better, or because you’re too redneck for Hyundai.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      If marketing has taught us anything, its you can sell anything to anyone. Heck they made Buick and Cadillac kinda cool by basically destroying the brands and rebuilding them as something else. The same could be done with Chevrolet if they tried… or they could have just kept somewhat sporty Pontiac and relegated boring to Chevy, but I digress.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        I always thought that this is the waythey should have done it.

        With the exception of the G6, which was the worst rental car I ever had over several pnalty boxes, I thought most of pontiac’s lineup as it died was outstanding, and not really replicated elsewhere. You had the:

        G8. LS powered RWD V8 4-door and could be had in a manual in GXP trim. And it handled too, at least according to Top Gear’s Vauxhall Monaro test.
        GTO. A LS powered fuller sized pony car with fit & finish. My friend had one nd I couldn’t get over how nice it was for a GM product.
        Solstice. A potential Miata/S2000 fighter depending on the trim, which they axed before the GXP coupe was accessible.
        Vibe. Toyota matrix in a different skin, but with the 1ZZ engine it is good fun, similar to a Mazda3 in that regard.

        Not sure about the G5 as I think it was a cobalt clone, but those 4 wehicles make up a good chunk of a sport-based lineup. Throw a sporty crossover in there and a fun to drive midsize FWD car and you have basically an American version of Mazda. And I adore mazda’s lineup for the most part seeing fun prioritized over most else.

      • 0 avatar
        ezeolla

        @duffman

        I have driven a G6 (sedan) on many occasions and think it is a nice car (it would have been high on my list if I were looking for a midsize sedan) other than the huge turning radius.

        And they did have a crossover…the Torrent

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Bingo! You can absolutely FORGET about selling any of them on either coast, simply the wrong badge.

    • 0 avatar
      icemilkcoffee

      Agreed. The Chevrolet brand is about as unhip as a 1985 Members Only jacket.

      Maybe a baby Cadillac along the same lines?

  • avatar
    KixStart

    At $18,995, this isn’t for the kids with McJobs. And far too many of the kids hav McJobs.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      Gen Y technically started in 1980, so I think the first half of the generation (’80-’90) could theoretically swing 20K for a new ride either lease or buy.

    • 0 avatar
      NateR

      I remember being a kid with a McJob, at the time of the last redesign of the Celica GT. I wanted one badly enough that I walked up to the dealership for a test drive, but after running the numbers, realized there was no way I could make the payments.

      • 0 avatar

        There are also kids with McJobs who are financially irresponsible enough to pull the trigger. And kids with parents willing to buy them a car. 56 percent of Hyundai Velosters are bought by Boomers and or the “Silent generation” anyways.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        “56 percent of Hyundai Velosters are bought by Boomers and or the “Silent generation” anyways.”

        NOT THIS BOOMER.
        Never.

        I want a new Impala…

  • avatar
    200k-min

    I highly doubt GM could ever get Generation “Why” or any younger demographic to actively seek out their vehicles. I’m 34 and the only people I can think of my age and younger that buy GM (outside of trucks) were raised in GM families and are people I’d refer to as GM apologists.

    The problem I see is that GM built way too much crap and flood the markets with it for so long that most everyone has grown up on cheap used GM metal or hand me down GM metal, etc. We all have experiences of 1990′s era junk leaving us stranded, or costing us a lot of $$ in repairs, etc. Thus when it came to buying our own vehicles most of us went foreign. I’d need additional fingers to count all the people I knew in senior high that junked old luminas and grand am’s to go Toyota, Honda or VW. Ford has a similar problem but just a smaller scale from my observations.

    My friends & co-workers never sit around the table at lunch or happy hour and talk about the great GM products out today, even though even I’ll agree they’ve come a long ways. Nope, but we have talked about “I’d really love to have an Audi”, or “I’m considering a Hyundai, gasp!” or even “I test drove a new Focus and wow!”

    A generation Y halo car isn’t the answer. For everyone in their 20′s I know that buys a sporty “fun” car there are 2 that buy a Camcord or Altima or Focus. Nope, GM needs to out Toyota, Toyota. Build rock solid “boring” vehicles and build a reputation over years.

    Forget this generation, build a reputation for the next. That’s some free advise you can take to the bank…but in the world of instant profits and I need my bonus today GM will never follow it and why I think they’ll fail…again.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I don’t think it’s the GM brand that sinks it.

      I think the problem is that their cars are always a year or two behind, and that they’re so mass-market that are 90% of what the buyer is looking for, every time. More agile companies (even Ford!) make a 100% car for a smaller market segment.

      Also, they just surrendered the sensible adult-looking small car market to the Japanese, hoping that they could upsell middle America and GM loyalists to their bigger products. Guess who drives sensible adult-looking small cars? EVERY WHITE COLLAR WORKER ON THE EAST COAST. Especially the commuting population of NOVA/DC. It presumably is the same on the west coast, too. The Cruze appears to be a solid attempt to play in this market, though, so it may be a step in the right direction. I’ve been seeing more and more of them around, but time will tell.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    I agree with this wholeheartedly. I am a product of the Fast and the Furious generation having graduated from high school in 2002, and observing the Japanese sports car renaissance. Back then, there was any number of new and late model coupes one could choose from going from sporty to refined driveline notwithstanding. You had everything from Civics, Integras, good Eclipses, Celicas, Scooby 2.5RSs, 240SXs, to Neons, Cavaliers, and Sunfires available in a 2-door body style, and all could be had with decent equipment for under $18k.
    I know some of these aren’t remembered as fondly, some as junk, and some as just waiting to be riced out, but as a youth of the era, I would have loved anything with 2 doors and a stick over the 1996 Altima that fate dealt me.

    Looking at the new car market now, there seems to be only 2 truly low-price coupes in existence: The Honda Civic and the Scion TC. Even so, they crest 20k with an auto unless you get a stripped out LX or DX in the Civic. I think there is definitely a market for this sort of car, and 18-19k seems like a good starting point, especially if they include standard Bluetooth/USB/Aux input, and the car isn’t a POS. I like the concept and if fills a void in the market.

    • 0 avatar
      tmkreutzer

      This is a great, insightful post. I remember those days, it is a shame that there are so few cool small two doors on the market these days.

      Even though it is being pitched as a small car, I would love to see this car on a mid-size platform. It could be the “other” two door coupe from Chevrolet. The one for people who want some style, but who don’t want all the social stigma that comes with the new Camaro.

      Call it the “Chevelle.”

      • 0 avatar

        I’ll ask Jover to do an Alpha based rendering. Rwd. Ecotec 4 cyl turbo or a 3.6 V6? I think so.

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        NOW you’re talking. I was musing over the same thing on Monday. Call it the Chevelle with an SS option. Or a “Heavy Chevy” option like in 1972…oops…delving into the glory days, again.

        The Camaro has exactly what stigma? Judging by all the Camaros I see on the road, the only stigma I see is that I want one – a convertible!

        If the Camaro has a stigma, I don’t think anyone cares one whit…the buyers love it and that’s all that matters.

    • 0 avatar
      afflo

      The Hyundai Veloster is a Sorta-Coupe. Also the Kia Forte Koup.

      I blame the Subaru WRX and Mistubishi Lancer for the death of compact coupes. They turned these kids on to the idea that sporty styling meant a cheap family sedan covered in wings, scoops, and huge wheels.

      Automakers like having just one bodystyle to design, build, and crash test, so they jumped on the band-wagon with glee.

      But, if you become aware of cars in a world where Jeep builds glorified Neons, Porsche builds 4 door hatchbacks, BMW builds SUVs, and Honda builds crew cab Pickups, you can be forgiven for being confused.

    • 0 avatar
      omer333

      I was going to say call it the Chevelle!

      I had actually been thinking about this since seeing the two concept cars, and while i know that the Malibu was originally a trim level of the Chevelle, I think GM could have a winner if they make a new Chevelle.

      And as much as I have been eyeballing a Penstar-powered Charger or a new Falcon, er Mondeo, excuse me Fusion as the replacement for my Crosstour when the lease is up, i would seriously have to consider a Malibu (if there’s an SS version) or a Chevelle SS because I have always wanted a Chevelle.

  • avatar
    afflo

    Sooooo… A Scion tC?

    Seems to be working well enough for Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      As Duffman pointed out Civic and tC are pretty much the only game in town, and neither is a midsize. I don’t think the car Derek imagined wouldn’t directly compete with either, I would see it going up against Accord/Altima coupes.

      • 0 avatar
        afflo

        The tC is pretty close in size to an Altima Coupe. It straddles the line between the midsize Accord Coupe and the compact Civic:

        Wheelbase:
        Accord: 107.9
        tC: 106.3
        Altima: 105.3
        Civic: 103.2

        Interior Volume:
        Accord: 89.7 (92.1 w/o moonroof)
        tC: 88.4
        Altima: 89.3
        Civic: 83.2

        Length/Width:
        Accord: 191/72.8
        Altima: 180/70.7
        tC: 174/70.1
        Civic: 175/69

        Basically, the tC is a slightly bob-tailed, midsize coupe with a liftback*, which brings it the exterior dimensions down to the approximate size of a Civic, but the interior, weight, and engine of a midsized 4-cyl coupe. It makes it an odd car to crosshop – it straddles the line between compact coupes and low-end midsize coupes. It’s features are basically in line with an Accord Coupe EX, though a bit less refined (as one expects for ~4,000 dollars less).

        *As expected, since it’s based on the Euro-midsized Toyota Avensis

  • avatar
    28-cars-later

    Derek I think your right on the money but I don’t see the Malibu coupe as a halo car, I see it as the logical coupe option for the midsize sedan model. Time was most domestics offered a coupe equivalent to sedans in the their lineup, and this seems to have completely died out by the late 90s/early 00s. Hell Ford doesn’t even make a Focus coupe/hatch anymore and it drives me nuts… Alan some of us in the snow belt can’t practically buy a new pony car if we want two doors. Foreign makes seem to adapted this posture (Civic coupe, Accord coupe, Altima coupe, Solara, A5 as a similar companion to A6, 6 Series companion to 5, even Challenger to the Charger etc.) Boggles my mind why Ford/GM continue to ignore this market. I think a Malibu coupe could really sell, I’d trade my Saturn SL tomorrow for the car you photoshopped. Get on a superbowl commercial and plug it, basically suggest to Gen Y that sedan’s are for p*ssies and for the stylish driver, the Malibu coupe is the way to go etc.

    • 0 avatar

      28CL,

      This wouldn’t be a Malibu coupe. It would use a Cruze platform but be a distinct nameplate. Compact, efficient, enough tech features to make it palatable but not over complicated. A performance version for those who wanted one, but high efficiency for everyone else.

      • 0 avatar
        28-cars-later

        Derek – Regardless of platform, me likey. Compact, efficient, some tech, nice available options, and an optional performance package… spot on. Use your influence to get this sketch to Akerson, the White House, or whoever is in charge nowadays :)

    • 0 avatar
      NateR

      Throw a little bit of “Buy American” in there for good measure, and use a blacked out SS in the commercial, and you’ve got a winner (starting at $18,995, price as pictured $23,645).

      • 0 avatar
        afflo

        The jingoistic “Buy American” thing doesn’t really work these days, especially with the Mexican/Canadian content in “US” branded cars (and if I recall, due to NAFTA they don’t differentiate.)

        As long as it’s built in the US, tying it into a “buy local” mantra would be much better. Toss in a few farmers markets and local coffee shops, bistroes, etc. Chevrolet is basically the Wal-Mart of auto brands – make people think of the independent local business rather than American Exceptionalism, ya know?

        If it were selling pickups, that would be different.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @afflo:

        Yeah, I’m in my 30s and I’ve been able to trade e-mails and forum posts with people around the world for as long as I’ve cared to try.

        Jingoism doesn’t land on my ears the same way it does for the people I know who are in their 50s.

        The “Imported From Detroit” commercial managed to translate the “buy American” sentiment into the present day pretty well, though.

  • avatar
    righteousball

    The name: BERETTA.

    *awkward pause*

    Sorry, that’s the first name that popped up.

    *awkward pause* *runs for cover*

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    I like your idea. I am older than the desired demographic here, but see the appeal to this car. First, it is attractive. A car that looks expensive and tasteful and sells for a reasonable price will sell.
    I agree that image is a problem for Chevrolet right now. But older folks like me will remember the 1980s and early 90s when Chrysler was the un-coolest car in the universe (worse than Buick :) ). To improve the image, Chevrolet has to start somewhere, so why not a car like this.
    If they could start down a path that would appeal to the under 45 demographic (leaving Buick and Cadillac to focus on the over 45 demographic where all of the money tends to be) Chevy might catch a wave that could be ridden for awhile.
    My only suggestion: it is time for Chevy to ditch that awful front end. It is time for a new family-wide look. Because the current one is just not that attractive, and is the only weak aspect of a really attractive car.

  • avatar
    DIYer

    The way a vehicle is priced is based on the income level of the target market group x 50%. A vehicle priced at $20K is marketed to someone make $40K a year. For a Gen Y target market with an income of $22K, the vehicle would need to be priced at $11K. At this price level, you’re looking at Nissan Versa, Toyota Yaris, Ford Fiesta. This is the competition. Definitely bottom of the food chain. Loss-leader vehicles that don’t make money for the manufacturer, but get people in the showroom to look around for something that actually has appeal other than price.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    Just make it Lime Green and you may have something there ;)

  • avatar
    Pch101

    It’s a nice drawing. But I have my doubts that stapling a bowtie to the front of a FWD variant of a BMW 1-series is an answer to a question that has been asked by a lot of people.

    Not long ago, GM had a Cobalt coupe, and I don’t recall that being much of a youth car. I have to question this premise that the personal coupe concept is anything more than a niche in today’s market.

    • 0 avatar

      You just nailed the big problem. It was a Cobalt coupe.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The Cobalt coupe wasn’t exactly my favorite car, but it did bear some resemblance to what you’re suggesting: http://images.businessweek.com/ss/08/05/0515_gm/image/chevy-cobalt-coupe.jpg

        I’m not a marketing guy, but it strikes me that the uber-youth and ricer segments are just niches themselves among youth buyers. While there are real world examples of cars that do skew strongly toward young buyers, those are specialty cars that tend to sell in low volumes. Most young people just end up driving what everyone else is driving, and don’t necessarily require special youth models to cater to specific needs.

        The personal youth sports coupe may be a variant of the manual transmission diesel station wagon. Just because a few people want one doesn’t mean that there is considerable pent-up demand for such things.

        Car sales in the US have basically been flat for the last couple of decades; the growth has been with trucks, CUVs, SUVs, etc. I would guess that many kids who grew up in the back of a ute won’t mind piloting one when they become old enough to drive.

        • 0 avatar

          The Cobalt Coupe looked like something you would buy because your credit sucked. This is going to have people do a double take and think you’re driving something European. And it will make all the difference. Don’t underestimate the vanity of consumers. Nor is this an “uber-youth” car. That’s what the Spark is for. There are lots of young people with jobs who want to drive a “grown up” car but can’t afford it. Here it is.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “This is going to have people do a double take and think you’re driving something European”

        To those who care about such things, I think that the bowtie on the front, combined with the absence of German badges, is going to make it clear that they aren’t.

        I’m just not seeing that the compact personal coupe market is a particularly promising segment. Virtually everyone has retreated from it for a reason. Some segments are strongly identified with certain types of automakers — for example, the Germans defined and own the sports sedan segment, while the Americans own the pony car segment — but even the Germans can’t get Americans excited about their smallest offerings. I doubt that there is any more demand for a Chevy 1-series than there would be for a BMW version of the Camaro.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @pch101: “I would guess that many kids who grew up in the back of a ute won’t mind piloting one when they become old enough to drive.”

        Just like the kids who grew up in station wagons and minivans didn’t mind piloting one when they became old enough to drive?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        “Just like the kids who grew up in station wagons and minivans didn’t mind piloting one when they became old enough to drive?”

        Actually, to a point, yes.

        The sales numbers are what they are. As I noted, passenger car sales are basically flat. The growth has been with light trucks, which includes CUV’s, SUV’s and the like.

        Many Americans have grown accustomed to ride height. If they spent their entire young lives riding in vehicles that elevated them above passenger car traffic, then they may well want to duplicate aspects of that experience. They may not necessarily feel the need to do that in a minivan, but they’ll want to be in some sort of vehicle that gives them that height.

        Car fans seem to have missed that this movement toward trucks is a substantial shift in consumer behavior. Trucks used to be a tiny segment of total vehicles; now, they’re about half of the market. It isn’t just a fad.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    this is the code 130r and the tru 140s thing again

    GM can very easily make the Cruze into an A3/A4 lookalike… and they can make it ‘near luxury’ and perhaps integrate it with ipads or iconias or whatever toys kids like these days…

    however the biggest problems is kids don’t like chevys unless its a firebreathing Camaro…

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      “however the biggest problems is kids don’t like chevys unless its a firebreathing Camaro…”

      What kid can afford one of those with $4 gas, a McJob, and a weak economy with a bleak future. Kids may want that, but the sensible ones will settle with what they can get. Cobalt was just a Cavalier part II, the Cruze is really in a class all its own in comparison.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        Exactly. They like the camero, but they won’t buy one. They will buy a used car like a Cobalt, but they won’t like it. (Actually, they won’t have much of any feelings at all about it so long as it works, much like their dishwasher.)

  • avatar
    gessvt

    Interesting idea, but the bowtie only holds status when affixed to a Corvette, Tahoe/Avalanche/Suburban or V8 Camaro.

    Gen Y Chevrolets up here in the rust belt are typically aging Cavaliers, Cobalts, Malibus or ancient Luminas, i.e. cars purchased or given out of bare necessity. Cheap to buy, cheap to own. Should one of these owners suddenly get that elusive promotion at Pizza Hut, I’m guessing that they will be looking to drive what their better-off friends own: imports like Civics, Golfs or Imprezas. Put one of those logos on your rendering and look out.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      “Should one of these owners suddenly get that elusive promotion at Pizza Hut” +1

    • 0 avatar
      Slab

      Yep. The bowtie is the killer. No one looking for a status ride will consider Chevy.

      When I got my first real job, you know one with benefits, I lived in an awfully crappy apartment and bought a used BMW. It was all about looking like a success. Like dressing for the job you want, not the one you have.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      On another note, I must be living in alternate universe or something, but when did Civics, Golfs, or Imprezas become status symbols? Lexus, Infinity, maybe Acura, Jaguar, Mercedes/BMW, maybe Cadillac… these were the status symbols I’ve observed. In my mind if I can’t have one of those, Civic or Cruze status wise makes no difference.

  • avatar
    Charlie84

    Derek, I applaud your article and your efforts to re-think GM’s (incredibly lame) assumptions about what young people are looking for in a car.

    But I disagree with your conclusion. I’m a 27 year old living in an urban area and my friends, generally speaking, don’t want a car at all. Lusting after a car is a foreign concept to them entirely. If they must buy a car (out of necessity), they’re not interested in a low roofline or sexy fenders. They’re mainly interested in the badge on the hood. Basically, if they must have a car, it had better be an Audi or BMW (or at least a VW). Cute-utes are popular with the women I know, however.

    My generation does not lust after cars. They lust after Apple products.

    • 0 avatar
      HiFlite999

      Indeed. Forget about a fancy in-car infotainment system, except for amps/speakers/handsfree connects to an I-Pad/phone (or Android for the rebels). Provide an in-dash mount that folds closed to hide from view when not in use.
      Example: http://www.rx8club.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=179139&d=1322427818
      Infinitely updatable and never lame old-school.

      • 0 avatar
        Charlie84

        That’s kind of a neat idea. Fairly well integrated.

        But if I were say, the president of Audi, I would pay absolutely ANY amount to get Apple to design an in-car infotainment system for me. And I would brand the s**t out of it. Seriously, Apple logos all over the interior. And plenty of iPad-matching aluminum trim.

    • 0 avatar
      28-cars-later

      “My generation does not lust after cars. They lust after Apple products.”

      Charlie I think you’re on to something, and the auto industry better do something about it. I’m a software developer who just turned 31, and I abhor Apple’s product line, just more for the landfills.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynasty

      “My generation does not lust after cars. They lust after Apple products.”

      I disagree. There just happen to be more people lusting after apple products than automobiles. A $1200 computer or a $99/month iPhone data package is a lot more realistic amount to spend on lustworthy products.

      The problem as I see it is, the cars that are lust worthy are super expensive. And if you are going to have the fantasy of owning one of them one day, it should at least be a realistic fantasy.

      The same reason why I, and many people could care less about Ferrari, M cars, AMGs, etc.

      I like to keep my fantasy automobiles in the less than $30K four to five year old category. Totally realistic based on my income and other expenses, and I guess also what I feel comfortable projecting out into the world.

      I do like the rendering above though. That is a hot car that would sell like mad if produced. As stated though, there would have to be a performance version. And perhaps GM’s HiPer struts would be enough to convince me that it’s okay that it is not RWD.

    • 0 avatar
      sckid213

      Charlie, curious where in the country you live. Is it a city with good public transit where cars are optional? I’m a 28 year old living in an urban area (Los Angeles) where cars are NOT optional. Even the lowest-wage workers will make purchasing some sort of car a priority, simply because it required to live life here.

      I obviously can’t speak for other parts of the country, but car culture is as alive and ever here in LA. My friends all lust after cars and follow cars closely. It seems everyone in this city purchases as much car as their budget will possibly allow. As a car enthusiast, I love the healthy car culture here. Though a somewhat decent public transit system would be nice.

      • 0 avatar
        Charlie84

        I live in Minneapolis. As urban areas go, we’re relatively low-density. Among my Millenial generation friends, I think cars are generally seen as expensive necessities, like household appliances. If you have to have one (and most people here do), it should be something nice. But really, even the young people I know with nice cars don’t actually give a s**t about them. I really think most of my friends actually quietly resent car ownership a bit.

        Our mass transit is frankly poor, but is improving rapidly. And bicycling, for both recreation and transportation, is absolutely huge here:

        http://www.bicycletimesmag.com/content/surprising-rise-minneapolis-top-bike-town

        Biking is what people in their 20s (and thirties and forties, actually) in Minneapolis are really excited about.

      • 0 avatar
        fvfvsix

        Minneapolis, while a very cool place, is not representative of any other are in the country with its population density (save, maybe Portland, OR).

        Down here in the desert, if you don’t have a car, you don’t have a means to get to a job. So, a beater is at least a necessity.

  • avatar
    redav

    Most consumers are not enthusiasts and do not care about what enthusiasts care about. There are too few enthusiasts to really make any appreciable difference for a car company. Toyotas & Hondas sell so well not because they are what enthusiasts want, but because they aren’t.

    Believe it or not, I don’t think the folks at GM are dumb–bogged down in bad habits and corporate inertia, sure, but they aren’t dumb. If solving their marketing riddle were this easy, someone there would have already pushed it. IMO, I don’t think this would be a halo car; it wouldn’t stand out to 95%+ of the population. I don’t think it would bring in new business.

    I do think that there’s way too much put into generalizing of any given generation. You won’t be successful if you think of them as all fitting a niche. Maybe that’s why their marketing has failed–if there is no strong dominant characteristic across the majority, tailoring your efforts to any such characteristic will alienate more than it attracts.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    Take this for what it’s worth, but the issue I see with selling cars to Gen Y is largely one of cost, as someone in my late 20s, I don’t know a single person my age or younger who has bought new simply because they can’t afford it, and if you look at the average age of a new car purchaser being something like 40-60, the statistics seem to back that up. If GM or whoever wants to sell to younger people, then they are going to need to price their vehicles at a point where younger people can afford them, otherwise, we’ll go buy something nicer but used for less.

    • 0 avatar
      afflo

      You don’t know a single person in their late 20′s that has bought a new car? Really?

      I’m 30… I know tons of folks who have bought new cars. The ones who buy used typically do so to get a nicer/larger vehicle than they could otherwise afford, but ~$20-$25K seems to be the typical price of the cars they buy… or, they forego new cars to prioritize buying a home.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I don’t either. I was nearly the first of my entire group of friends to buy a new car, and I was 32 at the time. My only friends who had bought new cars were 5-8 years older than me, and also bought thier first new cars after 30. And we are a pretty well-off bunch relatively speaking, mostly IT professionals, a couple lawyers, a couple small-business owners. At 43 I have now bought three new cars.

        I cannot even imagine a typical early 20-something buying a new car in the current economic client. They would have to be nuts, or unusually well off, or be buying with Daddy’s money. And even then, why buy a faux European car when the 4-5yo real thing is the same money? The typical 20-something is not going to think about the running costs.

      • 0 avatar
        afflo

        We’re talking about late 20′s though*. Early 20′s sure, but late 20′s is when you’ve gotten beyond those sub $40K/year jobs and are on your own and stable. If they’re supporting stay at home… er, “home-maker” wives, perhaps it’s a “can’t-afford” kind of thing. Perhaps they have travel, tech gadgets, and other expenses as higher priorities… but that’s not “can’t afford,” that’s “have other priorities.”

        *Sometimes it seems that age ranges are better expressed like MPH. 5-15, 15-25, 25-35, etc. A 21 year old has far more in common with a 16 year old than a 27 year old. Just a hypothesis.

  • avatar

    A retro name like Chevelle or Biscayne or even Nova might have some brand equity, but what’s wrong with coming up with a new name?

    I think one reason why companies use alphanumerics instead of model names is that a good model name requires some creativity. Or perhaps they could combine retro with alphanumerics and call it the Chevy II.

  • avatar
    Cleatus

    No matter what GM does Ill always associate them with cheap and tacky. And I would never want to be associated with the type of people that drive GM products, Im not into the whole NASCAR hillbilly Sarah Palin scene. Then you have the smug hipster types like those that make up the patronage of this site, jalopnik and others, no thanks.

  • avatar

    very nice styling.

  • avatar
    George B

    Good looking car except for the split grill and bowtie. The problem is figuring out why a Millennial would buy it. Watching who buys the Kia Forte Koup might offer some clues. The Forte Koup has the advantages 1) it looks good, 2) it’s real, and 3) it has a really long warranty. I could see it as a 2nd car for someone who got burned by repair costs for their 1st car. What would a Chevrolet Cruze coupe offer that’s better?

    • 0 avatar
      CRConrad

      “Good looking car except for the split grill and bowtie.”

      That’s because without the split grill and bowtie you’d see that it’s an Audi A5 that’s had a split grill and bowtie photoshopped onto it.

      (Not the most ambitious ‘shop job we’ve ever seen, Derek.)

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    Just from your description, although a bit higher priced, isn’t that the Volvo C30?

  • avatar
    mazder3

    Rather than making a coupe, Chevy needs to make all-wheel drive available across its lineup. This sounds silly, I know, but most of the folks in the area “NEED” all-wheel drive. The aspirational vehicles in this area are the Impreza WRX, Audi A4 and Golf R32 because they have it. Heck, the Suzuki SX4 sells in this area because it has it. Make a Cruze AWD available and market the living daylights out of it.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    It should be Miata $ at most. RWD is a MUST for a roadster/sports coupe. I’ll just get a used S2000 thanks…


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